Publish Novellas 1 May 2022
EPISODE 4 – HERD
Influential states within the country make preparation for large indoor events that please the masses.
⚠️ Stronger deviation to fiction
Each time there is a surge in the number of coronavirus cases, the governors appear irresponsible. Plans to impeach or request resignation of a few state leaders are underway. The most influential governors of California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Arizona convene over secure Zoom video conference to discuss self-preservation steps. To protect the welfare of the country, they conspire a plan.
Feeding the unvaccinated persons’ desire for entertainment, they consider holding huge affordable indoor concerts that do not require facial masks. At these venues, people will become infected and outstrip local hospital capacity. The majority will die. By such attrition, the percentage of vaccinated people should rise, leading to herd immunity.
To achieve herd immunity, more than 80 percent of the population must have the vaccine or have antibodies in their systems.
“If people refuse vaccines then we will never achieve heard immunity. By taking resisters out of the equation, the number of vaccinated who remain will be closer to 100 percent,” reasons the chairman of the meeting.
“That will allow businesses to fully open so the economy can return to normal,” suggests one governor.
“How do we distance ourselves from the concert results?”
“Very carefully,” suggests a Zoom attendee.
“The logical approach is to remove the mask requirement for large indoor gatherings and offer tax incentives for concert organizers,” advises another governor. “Performers don’t even have to know.”
“Will constituents question our rationale for allowing large venues?”
“Organizers are already questioning our prohibition of gatherings.” someone replies.
“Gentlemen, the direction is clear. I believe in 20 minutes we just solved the herd immunity dilemma. If successful within our key states, we can discreetly loop in other governors. All in favor, say Aye?”
Unanimous “Aye” is the response.
Governors issue executive orders to open large venues. Concert promoters are quick to book popular vaccinated music stars. Variety shows like the Houston Globe Trippers and Encirclé circus along with vocalists Mylisha Reese, Tyler Quick, Rodel, and Belondé are among the big acts that draw crowds. Families are eager to get out of the house. Each venue sells all tickets within three days of announcement.
Margaret, who gave birth to her child during the pandemic, wants her newborn to experience unmasked life outside the house. So she gets tickets to a circus. Malcolm feels the concerts vindicate the work of his protests. He and his roommates buy tickets to watch Belondé perform. Randal is now working two jobs again. He has enough money for his vaccinated family to attend a Mylisha Reese concert.
Cautious individuals wear masks but most are happy to doff face coverings. Not just the young ones attend. Some older ones assume it is now safe to go out for entertainment. Nurse Nancy’s mother is among them.
The large crowds are surprised to see no social distancing between seats. But they soon focus on the entertainment as though things are back to normal. This alone should be an effective catalyst of the virus. Some governors hasten the outcome by having men posing as HVAC workers install air filters with coronavirus contamination.
Many of the events occur concurrently across the country on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Randal’s family experiences fatigue and nausea, from which they recover. Within days, many attendees experience respiratory distress.
The instruction they receive is to self-isolate for 10 days. During this time, other concerts with up to 20 thousand people each are held. The people with health issues, again, receive instructions to self-isolate for 10 days.
Over one hundred thousand attendees advance to severe respiratory distress. They overwhelm hospitals. The expensive treatment drug of choice is in short supply. There are not enough ventilators. Tens of thousands of patients die, even as the next hundred thousand request assistance.
The wait time for an ambulance is over two hours. When one does arrive, the lack of hospital beds prevents them from taking patients anywhere. Victims die at home and paramedics zip them up in body bags for storage within refrigerated trucks behind hospitals.
Independent investigators see a correlation between the large events without social distancing and the spike in cases. They urge governors to act. In response, they allow the concerts to continue with a recommendation of social distancing between seating. Since this requires the cancellation of over 60 percent of the tickets, promoters do not comply with the requests. Instead, they affix vague signs on the seats that say, “Be smart and stay safe.”
After a month’s worth of concerts, the number of COVID-19 attendees exceeds half a million people. Nearly a quarter of them die. Governors, in harmony with the nationwide Coronavirus Task Force reinforce the message that vaccination is key to reducing the surge.
During the second month of concerts, promoters begin urging attendees to wear masks. Some wear them until they get to their seats. But in order to eat snacks and cheer along the performers, people remove masks once the musical programs begins.